Literally millions visit Nevada every year in search of fun, entertainment, and memorable times. Unfortunately, a few of those millions end up in trouble with Nevada law enforcement, arrested and charged with DUI. If you are charged with DUI while visiting or vacationing in Nevada, you can’t just pretend like nothing happened. Getting in trouble with Nevada law enforcement is the one inescapable exception to that rule about what happens in Vegas staying in Vegas.
If you are charged with DUI here, you can’t just go home and forget about the charge. A conviction for a first-offense DUI in Nevada is punishable by:
- two days to six months in custody or 24-to-96 hours of community service
- a fine from $400 to $1,000 and other court costs
- attendance at DUI/alcohol awareness classes (you pay the tuition)
- attendance at a Nevada Victim Impact Panel
- a suspension of your driver’s license for ninety days
If you try to go home and forget about the charge, you’ll most likely find out very quickly that your driver’s license has been suspended in your home state. After a DUI arrest in Nevada, you have seven days to arrange an administrative license suspension hearing. If you fail to arrange for the hearing, or if you miss the deadline, your license will be suspended in Nevada. The length of the driver’s license suspension depends on whether the driver has previous DUIs within the last seven years. License suspension lengths are:
- a 3-month driver’s license suspension for a first DUI conviction
- a 1-year driver’s license suspension for a second DUI conviction in seven years
- a 3 year driver’s license suspension for a third DUI conviction in seven years
The Interstate Driver’s License Compact (IDLC) is an agreement that covers 45 of the 50 states; it requires Nevada to notify your home state of your license suspension, and it means that your home state will likely also suspend your license. (Georgia, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Michigan are the only states that are not part of the IDLC.) A good Nevada DUI defense lawyer can advise you about the consequences of the IDLC in your home state.
Any time you fail to appear for court hearings in Nevada, the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. This is a warrant that does not expire – ever. Any time you return to Nevada, you could get arrested. In some cases, it’s conceivable that Nevada might even attempt to extradite you from your home state. Your wisest choice is hiring an experienced Nevada DUI defense attorney.
Nevada DUI Myths
Whenever the topic of drinking and driving comes up, you may hear some myths and misconceptions about Nevada DUI laws. Unfortunately, plenty of stories and twisted facts are floating around, enough to cause misunderstandings that have led to arrests. Here are some common misconceptions and the truth about them:
“You can’t be arrested for DUI if you’re not over the limit.” False. Even if you register under the legal limit on a breathalyzer test, in Nevada you can still be arrested if the officer believes you are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
“If you fail a DUI test you’ll be convicted.” Absolutely false. A good DUI defense lawyer can often discredit test results. A driver might test positive for drugs or alcohol for any number of reasons. In Nevada, experienced DUI defense attorneys successfully challenge blood, breath, and urine test results almost every day.
“You have the right to refuse blood, breath, or urine tests after being arrested for DUI.” False. Nevada has “implied consent”; just driving a vehicle means you consent to a breathalyzer test, whether or not you’ve been arrested. You also consent to blood, breath, and urine testing if you’re arrested.
“You have a right to see an attorney before any drunk driving test.” No. You do have the right to remain silent if interrogated, and you have to right to speak to an attorney after you are arrested. An experienced DUI defense attorney would advise you to be pleasant and polite, but answer no questions beyond what’s needed to establish your identity. Submit to the tests, remain cordial, and contact an experienced DUI defense attorney as quickly as possible.
“Your license can be suspended only if you’re convicted.” This isn’t true; your license can be suspended even if you’re never convicted of DUI. If you’re arrested and you register a BAC level of 0.08 percent or higher, the Department of Motor Vehicles automatically suspends your license for 90 days (if it’s a first offense, unless you challenge the suspension by requesting a DMV hearing). Even if you’re acquitted or charges are dropped, your license may remain suspended for the full 90 days.
If you are pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence:
- Know precisely where your license, registration, and proof of insurance are located. Arresting officers often say that a DUI suspect “fumbled” for the license or registration, and then fumbling is offered as evidence of intoxication.
- If a police officer signals you to stop, stop safely and immediately. Place your hands on top of the steering wheel.
- Remain polite and compliant; being a bit humble can’t hurt either. After you’ve produced your license, registration, and proof of insurance, answer no questions; don’t try to explain anything. You are not required to answer questions; you have the right to remain silent. Simply say, “I would prefer not to answer any questions without an attorney present.”
- Unlike the law in some states, implied consent in Nevada means that simply by driving, you consent to taking a preliminary breath test, even if you have not been arrested. It’s best to comply and submit to the test. A good DUI defense lawyer can dispute the results later.
- Finally, if you intend to enjoy a drink or two, designate a driver you trust or take a taxi. If you don’t drive, you can’t be accused of DUI.
Take care of the matter here as quickly as possible and put it behind you. A good DUI defense lawyer will advise you regarding your options, help you obtain evidence and witnesses, and work to have your DUI charge reduced or dismissed quickly. Don’t let a Nevada DUI charge cloud your future; contact an experienced Nevada DUI defense attorney promptly.